Lifetime Film Review: The Wrong Cheerleader (dir by David DeCoteau)


“You messed with the wrong cheerleader!” Vivica A. Fox announced towards the end of Lifetime’s The Wrong Cheerleader.

“Hell yeah, he did!” I shouted back at the television.

Now, one reason why I yelled that response is because Vivica A. Fox is a totally badass.  She has appeared in almost every installment of Lifetime’s “Wrong” franchise and she always plays a no-nonsense authority figure that no one in their right mind would want to mess with.  When Vivica A. Fox gives you advice, you better listen.  And when she gets mad at you, you better run because she does not mess around!

The other reason I cheered was because she was telling off one of the most unsympathetic and evil abusers to ever appear in a Lifetime film.  After spending two hours watching this guy gaslight and threaten his girlfriend, I was ready for Vivica to show up and verbally kick his ass and she did not disappoint.

Fox plays Coach Flynn in The Wrong Cheerleader.  She’s the cheerleading coach at the local high school and it’s a job that she takes very seriously.  As she explains to a new recruit, being a part of the squad means that you’re a part of a family.  When a prospective cheerleader says that she understands what Flynn means, the Coach tells her that she won’t be capable of understanding until she actually experiences it for herself.  And I’m just going to say that I probably would have been scared to death of Coach Flynn in high school because she would have taken one look at me and probably told me to drop the attitude, stop showing so much skin, and behave like a responsible young lady.  And I probably would have done it too because, seriously, you don’t want Coach Flynn mad at you.

Coach Flynn is concerned about her newest cheerleader, Becky (Cristine Prosperi).  Becky is dating Rob (David Meza) and, from the minute he first shows up at school, it’ obvious that Rob has issues.  Along with having a violent temper, Rob is a relentless manipulator, the type of guy who tells Becky that everything he does wrong is because of how much he loves her.  When he gets into a fight, he tells Becky that it was because he was defending her and that it’s actually her fault because she was wearing her cheerleading uniform.  If Becky so much as looks in the direction of another guy, Rob loses his temper.  Rob, of course, has a hundred excuses for his behavior, most of them having to do with his dysfunctional family life.  Everyone can see through Rob.  Everyone, it seems, but Becky.

If you’re looking for an expose into the sordid world of high school cheerleading, you’ll probably be disappointed with The Wrong Cheerleader.  To be honest, Coach Flynn could have been a soccer coach and Becky a goalie without changing the film’s plot.  (Though “You messed with the wrong goalie!,” doesn’t have as much of a ring to it as “You messed with the wrong cheerleader!”)  But no matter.  The film does a pretty good job of revealing the techniques that an abuser will use to maintain control over the woman that he’s abusing.  Anyone who has ever been in a toxic relationship will recognize exactly what Rob is doing.  The film also makes the very important point that if you do witness abuse, you need to say something.  Just shrugging away the problem or hoping that things will somehow get better is not a solution.

For those of us who remember her as the always quirky Imogen on Degrassi, it’s interesting to see Cristine Prosperi playing a far more conventional character in this film but she does a good job in the role and she still looks young enough to pass for a high school student.  (The same could not be said of some of her classmates.)  David Meza does a good job playing up his character’s manipulative nature and, of course, Vivica A. Fox is a total badass as Coach Flynn.

The Wrong Cheerleader isn’t quite as over-the-top as most Lifetime cheerleading films but it has a good and heartfelt message and that’s definitely worth something.

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #32: His Double Life (dir by Peter Sullivan)


(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR by watching and reviewing all 40 of the movies that she recorded from the start of March to the end of June.  She’s trying to get it all done by the end of July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)

His Double Life

(MINOR SPOILERS)

The 32nd film on my DVR was His Double Life, which I recorded off of the Lifetime Movie Network on June 12th.

His Double Life has a plot that will be familiar to anyone who has ever watched a Lifetime film.  Scarlett (Cristine Prosperi) is still recovering from the trauma of her father’s death in a traffic accident.  It doesn’t help that, five years later, her mother, Linda (Emmanuelle Vaugier), has married her father’s former business partner, Greg (Brian Krause).  Scarlett doesn’t trust Greg.  Admittedly some of that is because she resents Greg trying to take the place of her father but, at the same time, there is definitely something off about Greg.  He tries too hard.  He never seems to be sincere when he’s being friendly.  He practically oozes sleaze.

And yet, somehow, Scarlett seems to be the only person who has any suspicions about Greg.  This is a common theme in Lifetime films.  Even when someone is obviously up to no good, only one person ever seems to notice.  Everyone else just makes excuses for Greg’s behavior.  And you know what?  That’s actually a lot more plausible than a lot of critics are willing to admit.  No one ever wants to admit that their neighbor might be a serial killer.

Or a spy.

Anyway, Scarlett thinks that there’s something wrong with Greg.  So, while visiting home from college, Scarlett decides to follow Greg around.  She sees Greg with another woman and is convinced that she caught him cheating.  However, the next day, the woman turns up dead!

Is Greg a murderer?

Or is he a spy?

You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!

(He’s both.)

His Double Life is an entertaining Lifetime film, with all that implies.  However, there are two things that make this Lifetime film especially memorable.

First off, the film ends with a title card that informs us that, ever since the end of the Cold War, the number of Russian spies in the United States has actually increased.  “They’re your neighbors.  Your friends.  YOUR HUSBANDS!”  Seriously, it was so melodramatic and silly (and intentionally so, I like to believe) that I couldn’t help but love it.

Add to that, His Double Life continues the trend of former Degrassi cast members showing up in Lifetime movies.  Cristine Prosperi is well-remembered for playing, over the course of three seasons, the endearingly quirky Imogen on Degrassi.  Scarlett is a bit more conventional than Imogen but Prosperi still does a great job playing her.  For that matter, Brian Krause also does a good job as the menacing Greg.

Enjoy His Double Life!  Just remember that the person you watch it with could easily be a Russian spy…